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Native American and Indigenous Experience for Middle Grade and YA Readers

Books that authentically reflect Native American and Indigenous experiences.

Middle Grade Fiction Titles

Cover of Ancestor Approved: Intertr
Cynthia L. Smith (editor)

This collection of intersecting stories by both new and veteran Native writers bursts with hope, joy, resilience, the strength of community, and Native pride.

Cover of The Barren Grounds: The Mi
David A.

Morgan and Eli, two Indigenous children forced away from their families and communities, are brought together in a foster home in Winnipeg, Manitoba. A portal opens to another reality, Askí, bringing them onto frozen, barren grounds, where they meet Ochek (Fisher). The only hunter supporting his starving community, Misewa, Ochek welcomes the human children, teaching them traditional ways to survive. But as the need for food becomes desperate, they embark on a dangerous mission. 

Cover of Chasing Bigfoot

Chooch Tenkiller is not thrilled to be spending some of his summer with his Cherokee story-telling uncles and cousin Janees at a convention in North Carolina. While there, the uncles want to visit Judaculla Rock, a place of spiritual significance to the Cherokee people. Little does Chooch know that he has his own connection to the rock--a connection that could put him in mortal danger.

Cover of The Case of the Rigged Rac

Windy Lake First Nation is hosting the annual Trappers Festival, and the four Mighty Muskrats are excited about the sled-dog races and the chance to visit with family and friends from far and wide. But during the Teen Sled Race, the lead dog is the victim of a frightening accident that may be more than it seems. Between mysterious strangers seen lurking by the trail and a loud group of animal rights protestors, the Muskrats have a lot of suspects. 

Cover of Heroes of the Water Monste

Edward and Nathan, two Navajo stepbrothers, work with a young water monster named Dew to confront their past and save the world from a monstrous, enormous Enemy that is stealing water from all of the Navajo Nation.

Cover of Lei and the Fire Goddess

Twelve-year-old Anna must dig deep into her Hawaiian roots in order to save her best friend and her island from an angry fire goddess.

Cover of Mascot
Charles Waters and
Traci Sorell

Six eighth graders in Washington, DC, navigate through the conflict and division sparked by a school assignment focused on their town's Native American mascot.

Cover of She Holds Up the Stars

A young Indigenous girl searching for a sense of home finds strength and courage in her gifts, her deepening connection to the land, and her own cultural awakening in this moving coming-of-age story. Misko discovers her unique ability to connect to a spirited horse named Mishtadim who is being violently broken in by the rancher next door and his son, Thomas. Although Misko and Thomas challenge one another, their friendship is forged through the taming of the wild horse.

Cover of The Star That Always Stays
Anna Rose

When fourteen-year-old Norvia moves from Beaver Island to Boyne City in 1914, she has to contend with a new school, a first crush, and a blended family, but she also must keep secret her parents' divorce and her Ojibwe heritage.

Cover of The Storyteller

Ziggy's mother disappeared ten years ago, one of the many Native women who have mysteriously gone missing, and Ziggy believes a secret cave may hold the key--so with his sister, Moon, and friends Alice and Corso, he sets out to find the cave and solve the mystery of his family's origins.


YA Fiction Titles

Cover of Creeboy

Turning to the Warriors, a gang on the reservation, Josh, now known as Creeboy, starts down the path to becoming a full gang member--cutting himself off from his friends, family, and community outside the gang. It's harder than ever for Creeboy to envision a different future for himself. Will anything change his mind?

Cover of Harvest House
Cynthia Leitich

As Muskogee sophomore Hughie Wolfe volunteers at a haunted house fundraiser, he weighs speaking out against a bigoted character, and investigates strange things that have been occurring at the crossroads near Harvest House at night.

Cover of Hunting By Stars (A Marrow

Seventeen-year-old French lost his family to pop-up residential schools and has spent the years heading north with his new found family: a group of other dreamers, who, like him, are trying to build and thrive as a community. But when French wakes up in a pitch-black room, locked in and alone for the first time in years, and he knows immediately where he is--and what it will take to escape.

Cover of Man Made Monsters
Jeff Edwards

Haunting illustrations are woven throughout these horror stories that follow one extended Cherokee family across the centuries and well into the future as they encounter predators of all kinds in each time period.

Cover of My Good Man

When a mysterious assault lands the brother of his mother's late boyfriend in the hospital, Brian, a twenty-something Indigenous reporter, must pick up the threads of a life he's abandoned, returning to the Tuscarora reservation to discover the truth.

Cover of The Summer of Bitter and S

In this complex and emotionally resonant novel about a Métis girl living on the Canadian prairies, debut author Jen Ferguson serves up a powerful story about rage, secrets, and all the spectrums that make up a person--and the sweetness that can still live alongside the bitterest truth. A William C. Morris Award Finalist.

Cover of Ready When You Are

A remarkable love story between two Aboriginal boys -- one who doesn't want to accept he's gay, and the boy who comes to live in his house who makes him realize who he is.

Cover of Saints of the Household

Max and Jay have always depended on one another for their survival. Growing up with a physically abusive father, the two Bribri American brothers have learned that the only way to protect themselves and their mother is to stick to a schedule and keep their heads down. But when they hear a classmate in trouble in the woods, instinct takes over and they intervene, only to later grapple with the consequences. Told in alternating points of view using vignettes and poems, author Ari Tison crafts an emotional, slow-burning drama about brotherhood, abuse, recovery, and doing the right thing.

Cover of A Snake Falls to Earth
Little Badger

A Snake Falls to Earth is a breathtaking work of Indigenous futurism. Darcie Little Badger draws on traditional Lipan Apache storytelling structure to weave another unforgettable tale of monsters, magic, and family

Cover of Warrior Girl Unearthed

Perry Firekeeper-Birch begins to question everything when the rising number of missing Indigenous women starts circling closer to home, as her family becomes embroiled in a high-profile murder investigation, and as greedy grave robbers seek to profit off of what belongs to her Anishinaabe tribe. Old rivalries, sister secrets, and botched heists cannot -will not- stop her from uncovering the mystery before the ancestors and missing women are lost forever.


Nonfiction Titles

Cover of Braiding Sweetgrass for Yo
Robin Wall Kimmerer and
Monique Gray Smith
Nicole Niedhardt

Adapted for young adults by Monique Gray Smith, this new edition includes informative sidebars, reflection questions, and art to reinforce how wider ecological understanding stems from listening to the earth's oldest teachers: the plants around us. 

Cover of The Heartbeat of Wounded K
David Treuer /
Adapted by Sheila Keenan

Since the late 1800s, it has been believed that Native American civilization has been wiped from the United States. The Heartbeat of Wounded Knee argues that Native American culture is far from defeated--if anything, it is thriving as much today as it was one hundred years ago. The Heartbeat of Wounded Knee looks at Native American culture as it exists today--and the fight to preserve language and traditions.

Cover of Apple: (Skin to the Core)

Eric Gansworth tells his story, the story of his family--of Onondaga among Tuscaroras--of Native folks everywhere. From the horrible legacy of the government boarding schools, to a boy watching his siblings leave and return and leave again, to a young man fighting to be an artist who balances multiple worlds.

Cover of Everything You Wanted to K

From the acclaimed Ojibwe author and professor Anton Treuer comes an essential book of questions and answers for Native and non-Native young readers alike. Ranging from Why is there such a fuss about nonnative people wearing Indian costumes for Halloween? to Why is it called a 'traditional Indian fry bread taco'? to What's it like for natives who don't look native?

Cover of An Indigenous Peoples' His
Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz Adapted by
Jean Mendoza and Debbie Reese

Spanning more than 400 years, this classic bottom-up history examines the legacy of Indigenous peoples' resistance, resilience, and steadfast fight against imperialism. Indigenous human rights advocate Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz reveals the roles that settler colonialism and policies of American Indian genocide played in forming our national identity.

Cover of Killers of the Flower Moon

This book is an essential resource for young readers to learn about the Reign of Terror against the Osage people--one of history's most ruthless and shocking crimes. In the 1920s, the richest people per capita in the world were members of the Osage Nation in Oklahoma, thanks to the oil that was discovered beneath their land. Then, one by one, the Osage began to die under mysterious circumstances, and anyone who tried to investigate met the same end.

Cover of Killing the Wittigo: Indig

This explains the traumatic effects of colonization on young Indigenous people. It includes reflection questions and activities in each chapter to encourage mindfulness and emotional regulation, help build reader self-awareness about wellness and self-care, and what it will take to stop the cycle of intergenerational trauma.

Cover of Native Women Changing Thei

The 12 Indigenous women featured in this book overcame unimaginable hardships--racial and gender discrimination, abuse and extreme poverty--only to rise to great heights.

Cover of A Man Called Horse: John H
Glennette Tilley

John Horse was a famed chief, warrior, tactician, and diplomat who played a dominant role in Black Seminole affairs for half a century. A political and military leader of mixed Seminole and African heritage, Horse defended his people from the U.S. government, other tribes, and slave hunters by serving as a counselor of fellow Seminole leaders, an agent of the U.S. government, and a captain in the Mexican army.

Cover of The Power of Style

As a fashion-obsessed Ojibwe teen, Christian Allaire rarely saw anyone that looked like him in the magazines or movies he looked to for inspiration. Now the Fashion and Style Writer for Vogue, he is working to change that--because clothes are never just clothes. Allaire takes the reader through boldly designed chapters to discuss additional topics like cosplay, make up, hijabs, and hair, probing the connections between fashion and history, culture, politics, and social justice.

Cover of Sky Wolf's Call: The Gift
Eldon Yellowhorn and
Kathy Lowinger

This award-winning author team reveal how Indigenous knowledge comes from centuries of practices, experiences, and ideas gathered by people who have a long history with the natural world. Indigenous knowledge is explored through the use of fire and water, the acquisition of food, the study of astronomy, and healing practices.


Graphic Novels

Cover of Codex Black: A Fire Among
Moncada Lozano

Navigate through monsters, mysteries, and the will of the gods with two young extraordinary adventurers in fifteenth-century Mesoamerica as they search for a missing father.

Cover of Four Faces of the Moon

On a journey to uncover her family's story, Spotted Fawn travels through time and space to reclaim connection to ancestors, language, and the land. Adapted from the acclaimed stop-motion animated film of the same name, Four Faces of the Moon brings the oral and written history of the Michif, Cree, Nakoda and Anishinaabe Peoples and their cultural link to the buffalo alive on the page. 

Cover of A Girl Called Echo
Scott B. Henderson and Donovan Yaciuk

An ordinary day in Mr. Bee's history class turns extraordinary, when Echo finds herself transported to another time and place--a bison hunt on the Saskatchewan prairie. Join Echo as she visits a Métis camp, travels the old fur-trade routes, and experiences the perilous and bygone era of the Pemmican Wars.

Cover of If I Go Missing

Derived from excerpts of a letter that went viral and also the basis of a documentary film. In her letter, Jonnie calls out the authorities for neglecting to immediately investigate missing Indigenous people and urges them to not treat her as the Indigenous person she is proud to be if she were to be reported missing. Through the illustrations, the artist imagines a situation in which a young Indigenous woman does disappear, portraying the reaction of her community, her friends, the police, and media.

Cover of Marvel's Voices: Heritage
Jeffrey Veregge and
various authors

Today's hottest Native American and Indigenous talent make their mark with stories that explore the rich heritage of Marvel's incredible cast of Indigenous characters.

Cover of Rabbit Chase
Elizabeth Lapensée
Aarin Dokum (Translator)
KC Oster

Anishinaabe culture and storytelling meet Alice in Wonderland in this coming-of-age graphic novel that explores Indigenous and gender issues through a fresh yet familiar looking glass. 

Cover of Sugar Falls: A Residential
Scott B. Henderson and Donovan Yaciuk

Inspired by true events, this story shares the awe-inspiring resilience of Elder Betty Ross. At a residential school, Betsy is forced to endure abuse and indignity, but her father's words give her the strength and determination to survive.

Cover of This Place: 150 Years Reto
Various authors and illustrators

Explore the past 150 years through the eyes of Indigenous creators in this groundbreaking graphic novel anthology. Beautifully illustrated, these stories are an emotional and enlightening journey through Indigenous wonderworks, psychic battles, and time travel. See how Indigenous peoples have survived a post-apocalyptic world since Contact.

Cover of Thunderous
ML Smoker and
Natalie Peeterse
Dale Ray DeForest

If Aiyana hears one more traditional Lakota story, she'll scream! More interested in her social media presence than her Native American heritage, Aiyana is shocked when she suddenly finds herself in a magical world-with no cell coverage. Pursued by the trickster Raven, Aiyana struggles to get back home, but is helped by friends and allies she meets along the way. 

Cover of Trickster: Native American

In Native American traditions, the trickster takes many forms, from coyote or rabbit to raccoon or raven. The first graphic anthology of Native American trickster tales, this brings together Native American folklore and the world of comics. 24 Native storytellers were paired with 24 comic artists, telling cultural tales from across America ranging from serious and dramatic to funny and sometimes downright fiendish.

Cover of Two Tribes
Emily Bowen Cohen

Mia is still getting used to living with her mom and stepfather, and to the new role their Jewish identity plays in their home. Feeling out of place at home and at her Jewish day school, Mia finds herself thinking more and more about her Muscogee father. She makes a plan to use the gifts from her bat mitzvah to take a bus to Oklahoma--without telling her mom--to visit her dad and find the connection to her Muscogee side she knows is just as important as her Jewish side.